Improving health outcomes through the environments where we live, work, learn, and play.
Research shows that up to 80% of our health outcomes are determined by social and environmental factors that occur outside the boundaries of a traditional health care setting.
RiseVT works to address these factors, referred to as the social determinants of health, which include childhood experiences, housing, food access, environment, and workplace conditions.
RiseVT utilizes an evidence-based model that engages all sectors of our communities to amplify existing efforts, implement behavior change interventions, improve infrastructure, and strengthen policy to support healthy lifestyles.
How Does RiseVT Help Vermonters?
Watch how one Vermonter is able to improve his health because his community is set up to support access to healthy food and the fun ways he likes to get active.
MICHELE BUTLER GILBERT
Program Manager, Addison County
Learn more about Michele
Program Manager, Orange County
Program Manager, Franklin & Grand Isle Counties (St. Albans area)
Learn more about Jessica
Program Manager, Chittenden County
Program Manager, Windsor County
Learn more about Laura
ALICE STEWART & COURTNEY HILLHOUSE
Program Manager, Windsor County (Alice) Community Outreach Specialist, Mt. Ascutney Prevention Partnership (Courtney)
Learn more about Alice
About Marissa Parisi
Marissa Parisi is the executive director of RiseVT working to expand the RiseVT model to all communities in the state of Vermont. Marissa was formerly the executive director of Hunger Free Vermont from January 2009-December 2017. She is a nationally known expert on food security and federal nutrition policy. Before joining Hunger Free Vermont she worked at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England for eight years in various roles including strategic planning, community organizing, voter mobilization and education, and major gifts. Marissa holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Hartwick College in Sociology, a Master’s of Science degree from Springfield College in Human Services Organizational Management and Leadership, and a Certificate in Business Excellence from the Senior Leaders Program at Columbia Business School. She has worked as an organizational development consultant to many statewide nonprofit organizations and currently serves on the Northfield Savings Bank Foundation Board of Directors. She lives in Shelburne with her husband Michael and their rescue pets.
About Emmy Wollenburg
Emmy Wollenburg serves as the statewide Program Design & Implementation Manager for RiseVT. Emmy is a native Vermonter, having grown up in Chittenden County. She recently returned to Vermont after spending a decade working in public health at the Wisconsin Division of Public Health and the University of Wisconsin. Her experience includes public health program planning, management, and evaluation. She most recently led communications and outreach for several environmental public health programs, including a focus on healthy community design. Emmy received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She lives in Hinesburg with her husband, their 2-year-old son, and two dogs.
About Caitlin Maloney
Caitlin Maloney serves as the Coordinator for RiseVT. Caitlin grew up in Maine and recently moved to Vermont where she started working as a grant manager at the University of Vermont. Prior to that, she became passionate about public outreach and communication during her master’s degree and a Science Communication Internship with The Morton Arboretum. Caitlin holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in English and Biology and a Master’s of Science from Bowling Green State University in Biology where she studied soil ecosystems in Northern Michigan. She currently lives in Essex Junction and has enjoyed cross country skiing and hiking throughout Vermont since she moved here.
About Michele Butler-Gilbert
As a fitness consultant and health coach, Michele has dedicated her working life to guiding others toward wellness, one person at a time. In her role as RiseVT Program Manager, she has the opportunity to expand her reach to enhance the well-being of everyone in Addison County, Vermont. Michele holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Springfield College, is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as a Personal Fitness Trainer, and by the American Council on Exercise as a Health Coach. She has been training clients since 1996. She has experience in cardiac stress testing & cardiac rehab, specializes in sport-specific training, and enjoys working with clients on postural, flexibility, and post-rehab issues. In the past, she has worked in the fields of public relations/advertising and also recreation therapy. When not working, Michele and her husband play competitive tennis, garden, travel, cook, golf, and enjoy time with family.
About Betsy Fournier
Betsy was born and raised in Swanton, and played soccer on the same recreation fields where she served as board chairperson for nine years. Betsy will strive to make Swanton a more vibrant, healthier place where our community will continue to live, work and play.
About Jessica Frost
Jessica Frost is the RiseVT advocate for St. Albans. She loves fresh air, movement and travel. You may know her from the many yoga classes she has taught throughout Franklin County from seniors to tots. You will often find her with her husband and three girls doing some of her favorite family outdoor activities: skiing, paddleboarding, gardening and biking.
About Justin Graham
Justin is an Upper Peninsula of Michigan native, making Vermont his home in September 2013. He recently spent four years at Special Olympics Vermont serving in several roles including Program Director and Sports Manager where he expanded initiatives such as Special Olympics Health programming and oversaw sports and competition programming statewide. Before moving to Vermont, he worked as the Northeast Regional Program Manager for Enactus (a global nonprofit that mobilizes university students to implement sustainable community outreach projects). His experience includes program development and management, event planning, grant management, budget forecasting, strategic planning, and volunteer/community outreach. Justin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing & Management from Lake Superior State University. He lives in Burlington and in his free time enjoys skiing, volleyball, running, swimming, basketball, and card games.
About Laura Jensen
Laura Jensen is a cultural anthropologist, health practitioner, public health advocate and researcher. For more than twenty years, she owned and operated a wellness center. During her graduate education in public health, she worked with American Indians in Northeast Oregon to help identify causative exposures of lung cancer on reservation land. Since that time, she has developed community-engaged programs, including community gardens and memory care interventions. She has taught cultural anthropology and human geography and mentored medical students in research methods acquiring an extensive list of student research achievements. Her background in social and biological research affords the ability to bridge the gap between the realms of biological and socio-behavioral research. She has worked with nationally renowned research scientists and published articles on obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Lifestyle Medicine. Her current focus centers on advancing the clinical practice of Lifestyle Medicine and is the acting Lifestyle Medicine Program Coordinator at the Springfield Health Center in Springfield, Vermont. She is an animal, nature, and history lover, an avid knitter and bird watcher.
About Bethany Silloway
Bethany Silloway is the Program Manager for RiseVT-Orange County. After spending 10 years in the southern part of the U.S., she returned to her Vermont roots in 2012 and joined Gifford Health Care as manager of the specialty services department. She transitioned to the marketing and public relations team at Gifford in 2017 to take on the new role of Community Outreach Coordinator. This position enabled Bethany to expand Gifford’s ability to raise awareness about health and wellness, as well as preventive medicine, within the community. Partnering with RiseVT in 2019 was the next step in growing Gifford’s offerings to ensure a healthy and happy community for all to live in. Bethany is a lifelong Vermonter who spends her non-working hours helping her husband, and their two children, on their family-run dairy farm. It’s an active lifestyle, one that feeds her passion for encouraging healthy living, eating locally, and promoting the longevity of the people who live in this wonderful state.
About Alice Stewart
Alice Stewart is the Program Manager for RiseVT-Windsor County based out of Mt. Ascutney Hospital & Health Center, implementing initiatives in Windsor, West Windsor, Weathersfield, and Hartland. Alice received her BFA in Art History from the College of William and Mary and her MA in English, Concentration in Professional Writing and Editing, from George Mason University. Her work experience includes project and program management, classroom and online training design and development, legal research, marketing, and community organizing. For fun, Alice enjoys taking walks, solving puzzles, and talking to other people’s dogs. In her work related to prevention and health promotion, Alice would say “All communities — including towns, workplaces, schools, faith-based groups, service organizations, and neighborhoods — can contribute to creating an environment that promotes health and wellness. The core of our work is helping our community partners realize that potential and take positive action.”
About Elisha Underwood
Elisha is the Program Manager for RiseVT-Windham County, working to amplify existing efforts in the region to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Elisha comes to the team with extensive experience in community health, most recently as a member of the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Community Health Team. Elisha transitioned into the RiseVT Program Manager role based at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital at the end of 2018. Elisha received an Associate’s degree at Community College of Vermont and a Bachelor’s of Science at Keene State College, majoring in Health Science with a specialization in Health Promotion & Wellness with a focus in Community Health. While at Keene State she worked at a non-profit organization raising awareness of wellness and proper role modeling among young athletes. After college, she worked at an organization promoting healthy lifestyle choices within a residential facility. Elisha loves to learn and try new things that promote a healthy lifestyle including cooking and trying healthy foods and activities. In early 2018 she coordinated a free exercise class at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital called Juggling for Health where she is learning how to juggle every Wednesday during her lunch break. Elisha has lived in Brattleboro Vermont for 30 years and loves the beautiful state of Vermont and its small, unique communities. She enjoys exploring what Vermont and New England have to offer with her husband and her 10-year-old dog named Benji.
About Katja Evans
After years of working as a veterinary technician, Katja wanted to move to the human side of health care and received a Master in Health and Wellness where she focused on lifestyle disease prevention. Katja joined Gifford Health Care in 2020 as a Care Coordinator on the Community Health Team and recently moved into the role of Community Relations Coordinator. She enjoys working with community members of all ages to promote healthy lifestyles and empowering individuals to take an active role in their health. Katja is also currently completing her certification in Health and Wellness Coaching.
When not working, Katja can be found spending time with her husband and kids, caring for the animals on their farm, gardening, cooking, knitting, and enjoying the outdoors.
About Jen Grant
Jen Grant joined the RiseVT team from the role as Community Resource Coordinator at Northern Counties Health Center (NCHC), connecting patients with local resources to meet their needs, such as dental care, health insurance, food, or transportation. Jen brings over 15 years’ experience in contracting and grants management working in the field of community service and non-profit management. Prior to joining NCHC in 2018, Jen served in the role of Admissions Coordinator for Springfield College in St. Johnsbury. Jen supported staff in the areas of reception, technology, academics, facilities use, student services, outreach and special events. As Admissions Coordinator, she managed the enrollment process for undergraduate and graduate candidates and coordinated outreach initiatives for the college to assist with marketing and recruitment goals. Through her employment with Springfield College, Jen was the recipient of the Northeast Kingdom Chamber’s Going-the-Extra-Mile Award.
In addition to promoting healthy lifestyles and outdoor recreation in the Northeast Kingdom, Jen is also a Registered Yoga Teacher. Jen lives in Lyndonville with her family.
RiseVT Evidence-Based Models
RiseVT started as a community collaborative to improve health outcomes in Vermont’s Franklin and Grand Isle counties, pulling together members of the region representing all sectors of the community.
As part the group’s process, they examined various theories of change models across the globe that had worked to ignite change and improve health outcomes. One model that rose to the top was the EPODE model which had been launched in France with proven success and implemented in 29 other countries. The pillars of this model have become the guiding foundation for RiseVT, while additional evidence-based models define our implementation strategies and measurement.
EPODE’s 4 Pillars
All of our work is built on the foundation of EPODE: we know political commitment is key to implementing systemic change; our partnerships are everything to us and we are here to serve as a backbone organization to coordinate and collaborate; proven behavior change marketing and intervention strategies meet people where they are making decisions about their health and offer easy, healthy choice; and we use proven measurement strategies and the guidance of our Prevention & Health Promotion committee to monitor and evaluate our impact.
This model defines each level of a community so that we are sure we touch on every arena that can impact the health of an individual as they move through their days.
This model ensures that in our public-private partnerships and stakeholder groups, we are purposeful, coordinated, and measured in our approach so that we are collectively impactful in changing the environments where we live, work, learn, and play.
Center for Disease Control & Prevention
24 Strategies to Reduce Overweight & Obesity
These strategies give our Program Managers in the field guidance for which projects and programming to put time and resources toward. If the project or programming is aligned with one of these strategies, we can be confident it will have an impact on improving health outcomes.
RiseVT Evaluation Methods
RiseVT’s evidence-based model allows us to implement, measure, and evaluate our statewide programmatic work.
We draw upon a variety of evaluation methods to ensure our program is consistently implemented across the state and that we are continuously monitoring our impact on the health of Vermonters.
Mid-and-Long-Term Population Health Data Trends
RiseVT has selected key population health indicators that are available for all Vermont counties to monitor mid- and long-term health trends. We compare local and state data to help us identify areas of both strength and need to guide our local programming and ensure our organization and partners are highly effective. These indicators include self-reported measures around nutrition and physical activity, food insecurity rates, tobacco usage, and health outcomes, including rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, chronic conditions, and cholesterol levels. These data are curated from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and Map the Meal Gap. This data is collected bi-annually into state and county data snapshots.
Key Informant Interviews to Assess RiseVT Program Impact
Our statewide team conducts biannual key informant interviews with RiseVT Program Managers to evaluate alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Strategies for the Prevention of Obesity and Overweight. These interviews are conducted using a secure data capture platform known as RedCap. The interviews assess projects type, ages served, partnerships, level of change (policy, infrastructure, program), evidence-based model implementation, and alignment with obesity prevention best practice. The interviews also serve as opportunity for the Program Advisor and the Program Design and Implementation Manager to provide ongoing technical assistance around program implementation and fidelity.
Height & Weight Measurement Study
RiseVT conducts a biennial longitudinal measurement study surveilling the BMI of 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders in 20 elementary schools in 2 pilot counties. This effort began in the fall of 2017 when RiseVT collected height and weight measurements for over 1,700 children in Franklin and Grand Isle counties. In the first round of this measurement effort data indicated that over 40% of the children in pilot communities were overweight or obese, far higher than the self-reported data from most recent the Youth Risk Behavior Survey data. In the fall of 2019, RiseVT conducted a second round of measurement, capturing BMI on over 1,700 schoolchildren. Find here the results of this second wave of measurement released in January 2020.
A dose calculation quantifies the intensity of RiseVT programming, providing a quantifiable way to measure community programs and policies by assigning an intensity score developed using duration, reach, and strength of an intervention. This involves calculating the intensity score of unique RiseVT interventions using the Community Programs and Policy Index scoring methodology developed through the Healthy Communities Study (Fawcett et al., 2015). Dose combines duration, reach, and type of behavioral intervention strategy to create a single measure of the potential impact of an intervention.
Amplify Grant Tracking
RiseVT awards micro-grants to community partners for aligned projects that meet one or more of the CDC’s 24 Strategies to Reduce Obesity. Funds are to be used for programmatic work and are not to be used for an organization’s core business function or overhead. Partners report on projects funded by the grants to RiseVT statewide which are then promoted through RiseVT’s digital networks and local news stories when appropriate. We track all CDC strategies the grants address and total amount awarded by community.
Behavior Change Marketing
RiseVT conducts behavior change marketing campaigns to influence the health behaviors of the broader Vermont population. Pre– and post– evaluation is crucial to the development and measurement of behavior change marketing campaigns. We have conducted pre-campaign research using the Center for Research and Public Policy as our research partner and will conduct post-campaign surveys to infer the success of this work